When life is good again, I tend to "coast." I take a deep breath; and just ride through life. While this isn't all bad (the Lord wants us to enjoy being in the spacious places where He graciously brings us following our distress), it easily becomes spiritual-laziness on my part. Lazy, because I put everything on hold to just ride this new wave, and that can even extend to my relationship with the Lord. I've just come through such an intense time of needing Him, of clinging to every Word, that I will sometimes "go on vacation." After all, "I deserve it, look what I've just been through." (That becomes my entitled mentality.)
The Lord warns against this. All through Deuteronomy His call is to remember. Over and over, He warns the Israelites to "watch yourselves, lest you forget the Lord your God..." Following years of wilderness wanderings, during which they must have wondered if there would ever be an end, God brings His people into their land, the spacious place. Even then, the end is not in sight, not yet. To claim the land He is giving them, they have to fight some pretty significant battles (doesn't this sound a lot like the hard we experience?). They fight; they conquer; they obtain; now, comes a season of REST. But, the Lord specifically urges them:
Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grand sons. Remember... Deuteronomy 4:9-10a.
Instead of coasting, God instructs:
Keep on keeping your soul healthy in all diligence. In other words, don't quit doing what you've been doing to preserve your spiritual growth. More than ever, in this new season, gather Scriptures like you would gather a fall harvest, to prepare your heart for the next season of life's struggles. Not only that, keep after "the list" from a couple weeks back (see "A Monologue on Experiencing Hard"). Stay at it. Persevere in steadfastness of spirit.
Never forget what you've learned. Now's a great time to journal, to process all that God taught in the hardships. Record how He ministered to your soul. Jot down the ways He intervened in your story. See where your God heroically "brought you out of the day-of-your-distress and rescued you, because he delighted in you (Psalm 18:18-19)." Even when it felt like He wasn't there, look back and see how He carried you through.
Tell your story (especially to the little ones in your family). Someone once told me the most important thing you can ever give your children is the faithfulness of God. Rehearse it to them over and over and over again. Never tire of telling those who will come after us, the greatness of our God. Our society is losing story-telling, and consequently, we are losing our Big God. When God is small, we leave behind a faithless generation.
Remember, remember, remember! That is the what next.
Oh, yeah...I said I tended to default in two ways, and "coasting" is just one. You'll have to come back next week; can't have this be too long... In the meantime, "lift your eyes to the Maker of the mountains you can't climb (Bebo Norman, I Will Lift My Eyes)" - He is more than enough!